Abstract

The three-dimensional laser focal region has been spatially shaped so that in the focal plane the transverse intensity distribution is centrally peaked, whereas at multiple defocused planes along the laser propagation direction, the distribution is annular. The longitudinal profile of such a shaped laser focal volume is approximately in the form of a “horseshoe.” The horseshoe-shaped longitudinal profile was realized experimentally from a single laser beam by the incoherent coaxial combination of Laguerre–Gaussian and Gaussian modes generated from segmented optical elements. The ponderomotive forces associated with this three-dimensional focal-intensity distribution can potentially generate a quasi-collimated, forward-directed bunch of electrons from a low-density gas target at high laser intensities.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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